Centaped took a two week spin out to Australia to visit The Great Barrier Reef. Here we go on a wild adventure from boat trips to heli flips to try catch people in doing what they love to make money. I was so fortunate to be able to visit this stunning part of the globe and meet great people who have made this their work and playground. The Islands out here and their reefs provide work to so many. The one resort I was staying employs and provides accommodation to over 400 staff! Wow! What a life they have! It made me want a career in the islands.
My first mad about life encounter was with Skipper John Dyson. Growing up in the Whitsundays John has lived his life around boats. His family had their own commercial vessels so John learned about sailing the ocean as babies learn to walk. Starting to skipper at 11 years of age John said that to be a skipper you must truly love doing it. With sometimes long hours and low pay he says the reward of being out on the water in the Whitsundays makes it all worth it. He is a skipper for the lifestyle and says that being a single dad it allows him to spend fun time with his son. Lifestyle is all part of a career in the islands and looking at the crew on board I can see that it definitely is something they enjoy.
Asking John how long he took to become a commercial skipper he replied around ten years. Saying that you start off as a Deck Hand and help out wherever you can. Then you need to start getting your skills recognized and your tickets. If you want to find out about tickets in Australia go to A Career In The Islands : Skipper Tickets. Every person wanting to become a skipper and to maintain a skipper license needs to keep a Log Book. You need to keep record of your time on the water just like a pilot keeps record of flying time. Once you have your basic training then you need to maintain your hours and other courses in safety, fire fighting and CPR etc. to keep your license.
With all the chatting the boat trip went so fast and suddenly I was at the resort. Climbing off the boat I was greeted by a whole team of lovely people working on the island. I noticed how relaxed their faces looked and thought “Aahh life on an island”.
My next fun encounter was with Scuba Diver and Scuba Instructor Andrew Abel. Having never dived before I first had to do a short dive course to be able to go do a dive on the reef. Andrew with his fun nature made the course a breeze. Dealing with people most of the time if you choose a career in the island you need to be friendly. Getting on with others when you live and work on an island is vital. Andrew is originally a baker by trade and was a pastry chef from 14 years! He decided to change career because being a pastry chef his social life was non-existent.
Asking Andrew how he became a Dive Instructor he said that he started off doing an open water course through PADI. This was a 4 day course and when he was done he could dive up to 18 meters. After this he did an Advanced Diving Course which was also 4 days long and allowed him to dive up to 30 meters. The Rescue course he did after this was a 3 day course which certified him to dive to 40 meters.
There was still more to come! Andrew went across to Honduras to do his Dive Master Course that took 2 months. Being a Dive Master you can get work diving out at oil rigs or salvaging etc. but this was not Andrew’s calling. He wanted to be an instructor so he went off to Thailand to do a 14 day teaching course. Andrew says that being a diving instructor is the best career in the world. He loves spending every day on the beach and meeting different people every day. It makes him happy watching peoples reactions and them having fun. Once you have your certificates you need to maintain them by keeping current and fit and doing the first aid and safety courses required. To find out about PADI courses go to A Career In The Islands : Dive Instructor.
I just had to squeeze in a helicopter flip over the islands and the reef. It was insane and I was delighted to meet yet another interesting character. Locky, the helicopter pilot started flying helicopters when he was 19. Now at 22 he is enjoying his career in the islands taking to the skies whizzing people about. It took him 9 months to get his helicopter pilot’s license. That is incredible I thought. I never realized that you could get one so quickly. Now he is out on a two-year rotation. Most helicopter pilot jobs work in rotations and contracts. Most importantly he said is finding a school when you are doing your license that will employ you afterwards so that you can build up your flying hours. It is tough and pricy prying to build up flying hours in a helicopter and people do not employ you when you don’t have enough flying time! Having a father as a helicopter pilot made it a little easier on Locky. His advice to people wanting to become helicopter pilots is to do another trade first so that you always have something else to fall back on. To find a government guide on becoming a helicopter pilot go to A Career In The Islands : Helicopter Pilot.
Centaped went on a flip in the Barrier Reef… Here is a video of our adventure: